So, I missed the live telecast of the 81st Academy Awards. I had to work, what can I say? It would have been nice to say, “Play now, work later” but newspapers don’t move their deadlines so that columnists can watch TV before writing their articles. But within a minute after hitting the “Send” button, I was running to the Blue Room to turn on the TV. Not that I didn’t know the results already. I was checking my feeds while writing my column and I already knew who won.
What’s the big deal? I’m not a celebrity watcher, definitely. But this year’s different. I was rooting for Kate Winslet. I wanted her to win. And not just win but win for her performance in The Reader. After six previous nominations, I thought that The Reader was finally the perfect vehicle for her victory. I do love Meryl Streep but Doubt was not a strong vehicle for her.
But it was really more than rooting for one actress over other contenders. I wanted Kate Winslet to win because a victory meant more visibility and people would start straining a little harder to hear what she has to say. Kate Winslet is one of those few celebrities who feels great about herself and her self image. She is well known for not allowing Hollywood to dictate her weight, her style and her priorities (she declined Woody Allen’s Match Point to spend more time with her children). Remember how GQ magazine issued an apology to her after airbrushing her cover photo in 2003? Most women will gush about how much better they look after the airbrushed weight loss but not Kate Winslet who complained that that wasn’t how she really looked. Probably a little hard to understand for women who think that faked good looks are better than what’s real.
And Kate Winslet’s idea about her goals is different from most. She chose art house films (Hideous Kinky, Holy Smoke!) in favor of commercial movies (Shakespeare In Love, Anna and the King) and that, I think, says a lot about her character.
So, I suppose I like Kate Winslet because I have respect for her as an actress and as a woman.